There may come a time late in a woman’s pregnancy when she feels more than a little impatient to meet her future bundle of joy. After being stretched out about as far as she can go, so that tying her shoelaces or reaching for the steering wheel seem like nearly impossible tasks, this is perfectly understandable.
Her impatience often grows as the set due date approaches, or sadly, passes with virtually no sign of labor. An expectant mother may find herself walking up and down stairs, snacking on licorice and pineapple, or bouncing on an exercise ball in desperation to get things moving.
There are many methods to try that could lead to the onset of birth, some likely more successful than others. In addition to exercise and eating certain foods, women can also experiment with massage, acupuncture, nipple stimulation, and castor oil. Another favorite approach women try is drinking cinnamon tea to induce labor, but there is some debate about how well this works.
Cinnamon is a spicy herb, along with others such as curry and chilies. Most believe it is because of this spice factor that cinnamon activates the body in ways that could bring about labor.
Does Cinnamon Tea Work?
There is limited research to support that drinking cinnamon tea will induce labor, although many moms swear by the practice.
Similarly, several women claim that eating well-seasoned Mexican food or Asian food with a hefty dose of sriracha stimulated contractions of active labor while all other attempted methods failed.
It is most certainly true that what works for one woman may not work for another, based on individual physiology as well as factors unique to each pregnancy; however, while there is little formal evidence that cinnamon tea works, there is also no evidence saying with absolute certainty that it doesn’t.
The Use of Cinnamon Tea to Induce Labor
Many people find that in certain quantities spicy foods, including cinnamon, cause irritation of the digestive system. Because of the proximity of the intestines to the uterus, there is a belief that this alone can trigger contractions. Others skeptical of this idea point out that since there is no direct contact between the two, this is highly unlikely.
Another possibility is that the aggravation of the digestive system may lead to diarrhea, which can, in turn, lead to dehydration; being dehydrated is known to stimulate contractions in expectant mothers.
There is yet another plausible way cinnamon could assist with labor that’s not due to its digestive stimulating properties. It is possible cinnamon may trigger the secretion of hormones, specifically of prostaglandin, within the body.
Prostaglandin works on smooth muscle to make it contract, and since smooth muscles are directly involved in the process of labor, this can stimulate the birthing process.
Many experts hesitate to promote these theories, and women who drink cinnamon tea should consume it only in recommended amounts. There is always the chance that internal irritation may occur without any initiation of labor and leave an expectant mother even more uncomfortable than she was before. However, cinnamon tea might also be the one thing that does work while other methods do not.
Should You Try Cinnamon Tea?
Many spicy foods are considered entirely safe during pregnancy, including cinnamon and its tea. Take care to sip it slowly over time. Even if, worst case scenario, cinnamon tea doesn’t bring on labor, it can be made into a tasty beverage to savor and enjoy.
Used in moderation, it should have a calming effect, and most women past nine months of gestation could use a little help with relaxation.
How Do You Make A Tasty Cinnamon Tea?
To make a tasty cinnamon tea, take one cinnamon stick and place it in a small pot of boiling water. Boil it gently for between 15 and 20 minutes. Afterward, let it steep for an additional 10 minutes for an intense, rich flavor. If desired, sweeten with a little honey or sugar.
Ensure the tea has cooled before you drink it so that you do not burn yourself.
A Note of Caution
There are many things women do as they pass their due dates to encourage their babies to make an appearance. They may go for walks, drive along a bumpy route, or drink cinnamon tea to induce labor. Each and any of these may be successful for one woman, but not another, and there is little scientific research on the topic.
On a positive note, these methods are not typically considered dangerous, so there is little to lose by trying them. However, consumption of cinnamon or other spicy foods may cause irritation that can have unpleasant effects, such as heartburn and diarrhea. For this reason, always exercise caution and discuss all labor induction methods with a doctor before attempting them.